Leading horses to water

There is some real gold in the recently posted full interview with Jony Ive and Craig Federighi in Businessweek.

If you’re an Apple follower and have read the Jobs biography you will recall that Steve Jobs was crestfallen about the reaction people had to the iPad announcement.

Now consider this:

Ive: When we were first working together—and this is a great example of collaboration from many, many years ago—but on multi-touch. That was originally intended for what was to become the iPad.

But I think one of the things that became clear was that we would need to try to explain the value of a whole new method of interaction and a whole new category of product. So one of the reasons that we focused on the phone was that there was no persuasion necessary to describe the value of the phone. You know, it was a market that existed, and people knew about the phone.

I think that’s a nice example of bringing to bear that solution to a set of problems that people were already familiar with. I mean, nobody liked their phone, did they?

This is fascinating because it shows you that Apple had decided very much to make the iPad seem like “just a big iPhone” on purpose, and that was a smart move. Steve Jobs knew this and he was still disappointed at the initial public reaction. Perhaps he thought the digerati would “get it” and the mass market would warm up later.

Of course, in the end most of the “meh” reaction was from digerati who then… went on to buy the iPad en masse, along with the general public.


Marc Palmer (@marcpalmerdev) is a consultant and software engineer specialising in Apple platforms. He currently works on the iOS team of Concepts sketching app, as well as his own apps like Captionista. He created the Flint open source framework. He can also do a pretty good job of designing app products. Don't ask him to draw anything, because that's really embarrassing. You can find out more here.

Comments are closed.